Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Discrimination Is Back in Vogue

Trey Smith

As if the growing NSA scandal is not enough, the US Supreme Court decided to get into the act yesterday. By a 5 - 4 vote, they struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now it will be that much easier for states to discriminate against certain voters -- the very thing this Act sought to prevent.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the minority, read out a stinging dissent from the bench: "The sad irony of today's decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective," she said.

"Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."
In all honesty, I am rather ambivalent about this decision. On the one hand, I am against discrimination based on a whole host of criteria. It is wrong to single out a group of people based on nothing more than the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. However, on the other hand, voting these days is mostly an exercise in futility. The monied interests handpick the candidates for the voters to choose from and the candidates who garner the most votes typically don't live up to the pledges made to those voters. So, all that may be lost here is the illusion of making a difference, instead of the actual ability to make a difference.

There is no question in my mind that this is a bad a decision, but it's a bad decision about a system that already is rotten to its core.

1 comment:

  1. Although it could be seen as a setback for civil rights, the Supreme Court actually did its job. The voting rights act was a clear violation of states rights, because it only applied to certain jurisdictions, discriminating against certain states and making state sovereignty unequal. For it to be constitutional, it would have to apply equally to all states. From a constitutional perspective, striking it down was the right thing to do.
    Not to mention that 99% of changes in voting laws in those states were approved by the Justice Dept anyway.

    Im not saying it was the right thing to do morally, but from a legal perspective the Supreme court did its job.

    If we lived in a Unitary state instead of a complicated federal system, and/or a Parliamentary Democracy, this would not be an issue.


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